If you’ve never been on an open-door helicopter ride, you MUST DO so. With Jack Harter Helicopter Tours. Specifically – on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.
I thought about going on a helicopter ride in Kauai when a friend told me about Jack Harter helicopter tours. It’s a helicopter ride but with the doors OFF. I jumped on the chance and let me tell you, it was worth it – at least on the “garden isle.”
Review of my day:
The Jack Harter Helicopter Tours office is located right at the airport in Lihue. There’s plenty of parking but remember to store (hide) your valuables in the car. After a quick check in, you wait for the other riders and the crew to get ready. Now is the chance to go to the bathroom and buy a wrist strap to attach to your cell phone if needed. I was happy the tour office sold wrist straps for $4 because they don’t allow anything in the helicopter that isn’t securely attached to your person. Use the neck strap if you have a camera and get a wrist strap for your cell phone.
I waited about 20 minutes and then we drove to the airport landing strip. Once there, a Jack Harter Helicopter Tour crew member announced our group, pilot, and assigned seats.
If you’re traveling solo, you’re guaranteed a window seat. If you’re a couple, one of you might have to sit in the middle of the front or back row. Since I was traveling solo, I was positioned up front by the window!
You’re given safety instructions, including the fact that you have to wear a life vest belt around your waist. They show you how to enter and exit the aircraft .The crew member also shows you how to wear the headphones & work the microphone during the ride. This is the time to ask the crew any questions.
Soon, you see spinning and whirling blades when the helicopters touch down to drop off the passengers on the ride before. Pro Tip: NEVER walk behind the helicopter. Always stay where the pilot can see you and don’t go anywhere that you don’t need to be. Those blades seemed crucial and I’m not trying to see anybody beheaded. Listen to the crew member’s instructions and you’re fine.
They seated us one by one and made sure we buckled in properly. The pilot introduced himself and asked if we had any questions before take off. Then, we were off!
The take off was smooth and exhilarating. The no doors feature DOES add an extra special element to the experience. The pilot explained where we were flying and pointed out landmarks with a touch of history or pop culture. I wished I took the time to watch some of the movies or tv shows like Jurassic Park and Hawaii 5-0 before going.
There’s waterfalls everywhere. One of the greatest things about Kauai is the rainfall. It makes everything lush, green, and plentiful. If there’s been heavy rainfall, the waterfalls are more prominent.
Life Pro Tip: Video with an open-door helicopter ride is extremely hard because if you get too close to the door, the wind will hit the camera causing it to shake. It’s best to keep the camera inside just enough so it does not shake and you can still get photos or a video.
We also swung by the Napali Coast. You can also take a sunset cruise here. Seeing the Napali Coast from another perspective is amazing. It is gorgeous and anybody who’s been to Kauai will tell you the same.
During the Jack Harter Helicopter Tours ride, you can turn on your microphone and ask the pilot some questions. The ride is about 30-45 minutes in total. Our pilot was awesome in the sense that he gave both sides of the helicopter a chance to view certain landmarks and waterfalls.
Afterwards, you have a chance to get some photos with your pilot and the helicopter. I also recommend leaving a tip for them at the office. You can leave any comments or feedback in a notebook as well. Overall, the experience was great and unforgettable. The open-door helicopter ride is a bit of a splurge but if you can handle it financially, I highly recommend it.
There’s many helicopter tours that do rides with open doors but I personally vouch for Jack Harter Helicopter Tours in Kauai. You can visit them here and make your booking online or on the telephone.
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